Sun Of The Sleepless - To The Elements review



Reviewer:
9.3

98 users:
8.17
Band: Sun Of The Sleepless
Album: To The Elements
Release date: July 2017


01. The Burden
02. Motions
03. The Owl
04. Where In My Childhood Lived A Witch
05. Forest Crown
06. In The Realm Of The Bark
07. Phoenix Rise


Sun Of The Sleepless is the one-man band of Ulf Theodor Schwadorf (real name: Markus Stock), best known from Empyrium and The Vision Bleak. Even though the project was formed almost 20 years back, only a couple of EPs and a split with Nachtmar were released in the early days, making To The Elements the band's debut full-length and the first piece of new music after no fewer than 13 years. Its creator described it as "a fist in the face of a shallow world!" and indeed it is. It was also more than worth the wait.

The first black metal releases by Sun Of The Sleepless featured electronic, ambient and even trip-hop elements (just listen to "Tausend Kalte Winter", the band's brilliant blackened trip-hop take on Darkthrone's classic "En Ås I Dype Skogen"). Compared to those early works, To The Elements is a more traditional, second-wave black metal-influenced opus that features atmospheric, folk and pagan elements. The musical compositions are some of the finest to have come out of the shadows in this style lately, with beautifully written lyrics, driven by Schwadorf's fascination with the natural environment and influenced by great romantic writers.

To The Elements is a poetic work of art, inspired by taiga forests, wildlife, moss, fire and ice. It is a profoundly emotional and heartfelt experience. A dense atmosphere permeates the whole album and envelops the listener, bringing to light the beauty of nature in all its glory and different facets. The four elements are always present: the earth giving birth to all life, the fire that scorches and destroys, the water that cleanses and rejuvenates, the frozen air that chills the spine, but also breathes new life.

The Darkthrone-worshipping "In The Realm Of The Bark" is a pagan hymn to the forest, which Schwadorf describes as being his personal church since he was a kid. "The Owl" highlights the individuality and wisdom of the nocturnal self; the nighttime ambience is felt through the introductory acoustic guitars and whispers that turn into fervent drumming and howling screams over cold and thunderous guitars. "Forest Crown" draws familiar acoustic sounds from Empyrium and you can almost hear the wind gently shaking the trees' branches and leaves. "Motions" is the most excellent example of fluid black metal songwriting, with guitar riffs evolving melodically and choral keys fuelling "the fire, mother of life and death, all-consuming flame - never the same". The chugging riff and raw vocals in the beginning of the sublime "Where In My Childhood Lived A Witch" rotate with gothic chanting and melodic tremolo-picking, until the song climaxes into a fiery blastbeat, with eerie keys in the background to narrate a tale which took place "there by the olden forest lane, in wooden scent of fir and pine".

To The Elements tells dark and introspective stories about picturesque environs and celebrates the wilderness in the most captivating way. The passionate vocal performance and the meticulous instrumentation make it an unquestionable gem, but without the lyrical poetry that crawls under the skin this album wouldn't be such a totally enchanting experience. For the people who find it hard to grasp how someone can like black metal, this is the perfect introduction. For the longtime fans of the genre on the other hand, it is a gorgeous and modern release that keeps perfect balance between warm melody and grim fury and is reminiscent of the "good old days", sans the overused satanic lyrical content.

In short, this is pure and authentic black metal poetry.

"Sun of the Sleepless! melancholy star!
Whose tearful beam glows tremulously far,
That show'st the darkness thou canst not dispel,
How like art thou to Joy remembered well!
So gleams the past, the light of other days,
Which shines but warms not with its powerless rays:
A night-beam Sorrow watcheth to behold,
Distinct, but distant - clear - but, oh, how cold!"

Lord Byron (1788 -1824)


Rating breakdown
Performance: 10
Songwriting: 10
Originality: 8
Production: 9


 



Written on 20.08.2017 by I was into this music when you were still in diapers.


Comments

Comments: 8   Visited by: 333 users
20.08.2017 - 04:28
Malignar
Really enjoying the modern high quality production. The song writing is pretty good, if kinda pedestrian (don't expect complex "riffs"). Good background BM that isn't 100% atmospheric borefest. Reminds me of the 90's with good production. I would like it if he got angry now and then and went for the throat a bit more though.
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20.08.2017 - 07:22
Lord Slothrop
I love the reviews on this site; I just wish there were more of them.
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20.08.2017 - 17:38
Bad English
Masterchief
Amazing way to write, equal as your country mate from Patras , amazing and I agree best BM is (even you ddi not said it) nature, winter, forest etc insiprated by , those bands stand out, reading this guy lyrics, its as poetry, art, inspired by nature. amazing mussican, poet, BM and nature goes together.
----
Life is to short for LOVE, there is many great things to do online !!!

Stormtroopers of Death - ''Speak English or Die''

I better die, because I never will learn speek english, so I choose dieing
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20.08.2017 - 20:01
nikarg
Old Nick
Written by Bad English on 20.08.2017 at 17:38

Amazing way to write, equal as your country mate from Patras , amazing and I agree best BM is (even you ddi not said it) nature, winter, forest etc insiprated by , those bands stand out, reading this guy lyrics, its as poetry, art, inspired by nature. amazing mussican, poet, BM and nature goes together.

Thanks man. But who is my country mate from Patras?
----
on and on south of heaven

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20.08.2017 - 20:08
Bad English
Masterchief
Written by nikarg on 20.08.2017 at 20:01

Written by Bad English on 20.08.2017 at 17:38

Amazing way to write, equal as your country mate from Patras , amazing and I agree best BM is (even you ddi not said it) nature, winter, forest etc insiprated by , those bands stand out, reading this guy lyrics, its as poetry, art, inspired by nature. amazing mussican, poet, BM and nature goes together.

Thanks man. But who is my country mate from Patras?


vazelakia and gavros
There are 2 greeks DerRozzengarten awesome reviever and Iaberis and he is from karditsa village
----
Life is to short for LOVE, there is many great things to do online !!!

Stormtroopers of Death - ''Speak English or Die''

I better die, because I never will learn speek english, so I choose dieing
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21.08.2017 - 04:43
Marcel Hubregtse
Grumpy Old Fuck
Written by Bad English on 20.08.2017 at 20:08

Written by nikarg on 20.08.2017 at 20:01

Written by Bad English on 20.08.2017 at 17:38

Amazing way to write, equal as your country mate from Patras , amazing and I agree best BM is (even you ddi not said it) nature, winter, forest etc insiprated by , those bands stand out, reading this guy lyrics, its as poetry, art, inspired by nature. amazing mussican, poet, BM and nature goes together.

Thanks man. But who is my country mate from Patras?


vazelakia and gavros
There are 2 greeks DerRozzengarten awesome reviever and Iaberis and he is from karditsa village


could you please stop sucking that metaphor heavy reviewer's dick?
----
Member of the true crusade against European Flower Metal

Yesterday is dead and gone, tomorrow is out of sight
Dawn Crosby (r.i.p.)
05.04.1963 - 15.12.1996

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22.08.2017 - 11:16
corrupt
With a lowercase c
Love the review. You found a great balance between word pictures and actual description of the music. I'm halfway through my first spin of the thing and so far you've been spot-on
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Schwarzmetall!
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22.08.2017 - 14:20
nikarg
Old Nick
Written by corrupt on 22.08.2017 at 11:16

Love the review. You found a great balance between word pictures and actual description of the music. I'm halfway through my first spin of the thing and so far you've been spot-on

Thanks! The album is very inspiring I think.
----
on and on south of heaven

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